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What Is Banksy’s Real Name?

Laura Sanders

Published 
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What Is Banksy’s Real Name?

Banksy never ceases to amaze people for managing to paint his artwork in broad daylight, in public, while going completely unnoticed. And for more than three decades, the artist's identity has remained the subject of speculation.

In August 2021, Banksy struck again with his 'A Great British Spraycation' murals in several locations around the East Anglian coast. He posted a rare video of himself to show fans how he managed to complete this project in plain sight. Fans were amazed by how he managed it right under people's noses.

See for yourself in the video below.

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The anonymous British street artist and filmmaker has been at the centre of speculation since his work first started appearing in the 1990s.

While his identity remains a mystery, his work is instantly recognisable to the trained eye, with its signature style and unique stencilling.

What is Banksy's real name?

While his work is world renowned, the identity of the elusive street artist himself remains unconfirmed, but there is one name which seems to have stuck.

Banky's real name is thought to be Robin Gunningham, as first reported by The Mail on Sunday in 2008.

If Banksy really is Robin Gunningham, he was born on 28th July 1973 near Bristol and is now believed to be living in London.

There has even been a university study to identify the illusive Banksy. In 2016, researchers at the Queen Mary University of London did some detective work and listed down Banksy's movements (as measured by where his artwork popped up) with Gunningham's known movements. They found that the two matched up.

Before that, in 2003, The Guardian interviewed Banksy and was described by Simon Hattenstone, who wrote the piece, as "white, 28, scruffy casual-jeans, T-shirt, a silver tooth, silver chain and silver earring. He looks like a cross between Jimmy Nail and Mike Skinner of The Streets." It goes without saying that Hattenstone didn't secure a photograph.

According to Hattenstone, "anonymity is vital to him because graffiti is illegal." And to be honest, if Banksy's identity was confirmed, it would take half of the fun out of seeing a new painting appearing seemingly out of nowhere.

Banksy's 'A Great British Spraycation' mural of a seagull. (Credit: banksy.co.uk)
Banksy's 'A Great British Spraycation' mural of a seagull. (Credit: banksy.co.uk)

While Robin Gunningham seems to be the name that's stuck when it comes to Banksy's identity, there are some other theories.

The following other people have been linked to Banksy's real identity:

  • Robert Del Naja (a.k.a. 3D) - a member of the trip hop band Massive Attack. Del Naja was reportedly a graffiti artist during the 1980s prior to forming the band and had previously been identified as a personal friend of Banksy.
  • Jamie Hewlett - an English comic book artist and designer best known for the comic Tank Girl and the virtual band Gorillaz. Joanna Brooks, Banksy's publicist, denied this claim.
  • Neil Buchanan - the former Art Attack presenter was thought to be Banksy by Twitter users in 2020. Buchanan's publicist denied it however.

So there you have it, the mystery of Banksy remains unsolved.

Banksy's official Instagram handle is @banksy if you want to keep up to date with his whereabouts.

Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@banksy

Topics: Banksy

Laura Sanders
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